Jul 5, 2017 | By Tess

All around the world, 3D printing is helping to give people—especially children—access to affordable and customizable prosthetic devices. Following that trend is Robotel Türkiye, a 3D printed prosthetics initiative that is helping to change young lives in Turkey.

Robotel Türkiye has its origins in 5 dakika, a Turkey-based design studio that had experience with 3D printing. In 2014, the studio came into contact with Enabling The Future, the non-profit aimed at providing children from all over the globe with low-cost prosthetic hands.

After providing its first 3D printed prosthetic limb to Mehmet Ali Toprak in 2014, 5 dakika realized it could expand its project to all of Turkey to help more people in need. According to the startup, the 3D printed prosthetic project really got started in 2015, as it gained momentum in Turkish media and established itself on social media. Earlier this year, Robotel Türkiye became officially recognized as an NGO, Robotel Derneği.

Now, Robotel Türkiye is working towards providing people (mostly children) who have finger or hand deformations with custom-sized 3D printed hand prosthetics. “Our organization aims to help these people participate in daily life and integrate into society," it says. "The purpose of the 3D printed hand is both to make their lives easier physically and to make them feel special instead of inadequate or disabled.”

Many of the people Robotel Türkiye has been helping have a developmental disorder caused by Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS). Traditionally, children are not always provided with prosthetics because they can be expensive and children grow out of them quickly. 3D printed prosthetics, however, because of their low-cost and easy adaptability, can be made quickly and efficiently for children to use.

Equipping children with prosthetics—even 3D printed ones—from a young age can help them to adapt to using assistive devices, making it easier to use a permanent one when they grow up. But more than that, the 3D printed hands “provide social and emotional support” to children. As they are made with colorful materials and can be customized to the child’s taste, children can feel special wearing them.

Robotel Türkiye is continually trying to expand its mandate to help as many people as possible. In order to do this, it regularly sends volunteers to Instanbul, Ankara, and Izmir to discuss the project and educate newcomers about 3D printing technology and its prosthetics. It also puts together a number of workshops and events which help promote social awareness for people with disabilities and bring more volunteers to its cause.

Currently, the organization has over 1,200 volunteers and access to about 160 3D printers around Turkey. So far, Robotel Türkiye has provided 32 3D printed hand prosthetics to people in need and are working on manufacturing many more.

“With these hands we aim to increase the life standards of these children. By giving them a tool to facilitate their daily routines and proving them with a joyful design to make them feel like exceptional; we aim to touch as many lives and hearts as possible,” said the organization.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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